When you run a brewery, one of the most tedious things you'll have to do is find suppliers for all of the raw materials you use to create your beer. For the popular ingredients that you buy in larger quantities, like hops, this can be pretty simple. But for the ingredients you use in smaller quantities, like lactic acid, it may be a bit harder. There aren't as many vendors out there, and there are so many more particulars to consider. Here are some questions to ask as you talk with different lactic acid suppliers.
Ask what quantities you have to purchase.
Since you probably only use a couple of grams of lactic acid per batch of beer, you probably don't need or want to buy huge, bulk quantities of it. Some lactic acid suppliers sell to other industries that use lactic acid in much larger amounts, so it may be their default to sell large bags or drums of it. Buying a whole drum of lactic acid is not ideal when you're a brewer. You'll pay more for it, and you'll have to figure out how to store it. So, it's often worth your while to shop around and find a lactic acid supplier who will allow you to buy just a pound or two of it at a time. Even if you pay a little more per unit, you'll have so many fewer headaches when it comes to storing it and dispensing it.
Ask what the lactic acid comes in.
If you have to transfer the lactic acid to a different container to store it, you will need to wear protective attire and be careful to avoid spills. So, ask your potential suppliers what the chemicals come in. If you can find a company that ships the chemicals in containers you can leave them in as you use them, that's the company to go with!
Ask whether the lactic acid is food-grade.
Of course, at a brewery, you need the lactic acid you purchase to be food-grade. There is some lactic acid out there that is not food-grade as it is intended for use in industries that make cleaning products and other preparations. Some companies sell both food-grad and non-food-grade lactic acid. Just make sure the company you're buying from knows you need food-grade lactic acid so you can be assured you're brewing as safely as possible.
If you ask the questions above, you'll have an easier time choosing a lactic acid supplier for your brewery operation.